In this dynamic composition of kitchen favorites, we see peppers and a lemon suspended above a china bowl, all resting on blocks that spell “H-O-T”.
Hot and Sour Soup is all about using light to make the scene as inviting as possible. I used very warm, direct light to emphasize the variety of textures in the scene. Notice how the light makes the peppers gleam, gives clear reflections on the shelf, and creates crisp shadows.
Speaking of the shadows, notice the unusual, lower-left location of the shadows. These occurred due to precise light placement from the top, leading to a very dynamic scene structure. The idea is that the string leads your eye from the top of the image down, then you focus on the bowl, blocks, and curious shapes on the wall.
My fondness for adding blocks with mixed-up letter clues stems from my childhood. I grew up in England in a house with no TV, so we would play puzzles and word games for hours. I particularly liked solving the word jumbles and include this element in my paintings now.